Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tobasco Versus Lousiana Hot Sauce

I worked in bars and restaurants for over a decade. I often use that rejoinder to begin statements not because it's particularly interesting, but because when you are surrounded by drunk people that long you see and hear almost everything at least once. 

At the bar my brother and I owned, Castaways, along the scenic Rock River we used to do something called Zombie Night. We'd watch zombie movies and eat popcorn. 

One night this guy has a basket of popcorn and he asks me if I had some Tobasco. Of course I had Tobasco. How am I going to make a credible Bloody Mary without Tobasco. But i wondered what this cat was going to do with it. He starts spattering it on the popcorn. I thought the combination seemed disgusting and put it out of mind.

Until last year when I started eating popcorn as a combination snack and meal with olive oil and Tobasco. It's really good with a glass of skim milk and can fill you up late at night when eating something unhealthy would be a bad idea.

But I live in a food desert and can't always get to a supermarket immediately. So, when i ran out of my tiny bottle of Tobasco I thought I'd just run to the dollar store and get some more. No. Walgreens? Out of the question. What they did have was something called...

Louisiana Hot Sauce. They boldly claim to be the original and exclaim "one drop does it." Since a few drops of Tobasco always had done it I decided to put their bold claim to the test.

And, no, one drop does not do it. I started by using the same amount of Tobasco I would use on that amount of popcorn, and almost nothing. I couldn't even tell if it was there or not. So I dripped on more, being cautious in case it kicked in suddenly and left me in agony. Still not much. So, I drizzled on a liberal portion. And it was good. Not as hot as Tobasco, true, but the fact that I could put on more and actually taste it started to grow on me. When I did finally get another bottle of Tobasco I thought I'd just go back to using the Tobasco. But as it turns out I had become preferential to the Louisiana Hot Sauce.

Even though I find Louisiana Hot Sauce's claim that one drop will do it untrue, maybe sometimes it's a good thing to be able to actually taste your food. Another thing I'm always curious about is how products with exactly the same ingredients can vary so much in taste or performance. Another example of this is Excedrin. Like these two hot sauces, it has exactly the same ingredients as any store brand you could buy. But it works better. Why? Is the reaction somewhat psychological? Can Tobasco ever regain the place in my esteem it once had? I'm not sure, and I'm not claiming this is true in all instances, but for now make mine Louisiana Hot Sauce.

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